‘Take A Final Call After Considering All Grievances’
In a big relief to all those facing the sealing drive in Delhi on illegal constructions and businesses running from residential premises, the Supreme Court allowed the Centre on Tuesday to proceed with amending the Master Plan 2021 but directed it to invite objections from residents and take a final call only after considering them.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Navin Sinha directed the Centre to publish its proposed amendments in the Master Plan in leading newspapers and grant 15 days’ time to the residents to file their objections.
The court modified its earlier order that had restrained the Centre from going ahead with any amendments in the city’s Master Plan.
City’s future needs taken into account: DDA
Facing tough time in the SC for allegedly trying to protect the interests of traders at the cost of residents and not taking action against unbridled unauthorised constructions in the city, the Centre for the first time fielded Attorney General K K Venugopal to defend the government.
The AG reminded the bench that the judiciary could not restrain the executive from making policy and that the apex court’s order restraining it from amending the master plan was wrong and had to rectified.
“Staying of amendments created a lot of problems. The government cannot be restrained from making a policy which is for the benefit of the people. The question of examining the validity of policy by the judiciary arises only after it is enforced. I am trying to cooperate with the court and DDA is also cooperating on the issue,” Venugopal said.
The bench, however, said it did not doubt the bona fide of the Centre but if amendments were allowed, the damage would already be done before it examined the legality of the decision. It also questioned the Centre for reducing conversion charges from 10 times to 1.5 times for traders to allow them to run business from residential floors.
Venugopal insisted that the amendments were for betterment of the common man and the Centre should be given the ‘benefit of doubt’ and allowed to make changes in the master plan. “There is a separation of powers and it is for the executive to decide what law is to be passed and judiciary cannot get into it. Similarly policy issues cannot be neutralised by court. If the Supreme Court says penalty should be ten times, I will ask the authorities concerned to consider it but it is not for the court to say so,” he said.
Citing tremendous influx of people in the national capital, he said changes in the Master Plan were needed to accommodate the growing population by allowing mixed land use. After AG assured the court that objections of residents on the proposed amendments would be examined by the Centre, the bench gave the green signal to go ahead with amendments to the plan.
“The modifications had been carried out from time to time while keeping in view the need for growing population of Delhi and also the existing ground realities and future needs of the city, following the principle of service-seeker and serviceprovider to be in the same neighbourhood so as to curtail transportation. Provisions have also been made in the MPD 2021 for minimum 15% of the proposed FAR to be constructed for community service personnel/ EWS and lower category,” the DDA said while justifying the amendments.
Source: Times of India
Dated: 16th May 2018